How Do You Replace Front Porch Columns
Sometimes the porch columns can become loose, damaged, or unsightly. If you have never replaced your front porch columns before, you may be wondering what the best method is to perform this project well. You’re in luck. We’ve researched a safe and effective way to replace your porch columns in no time.
Here are the steps to replace porch columns:
If you plan on removing structural columns from your front porch, it’s best to have at least one person assist you with the task of positioning the new column. These columns can be fairly heavy, and it may be hazardous to embark on this type of project solo. Continue reading to learn the steps how to do it.
Cost To Replace A Load Bearing Porch Post
Hiring a professional to replace a load-bearing porch post will usually cost you between $300 and $500 on average. However, if your contractor determines that there is more damage to your home or the scope of the work is more extensive, you could end up paying much more between $1,000 and $2,500.
To ensure proper installation, its important that you choose a professional that understands how load-bearing posts work and has plenty of experience in the matter. Depending on where you live, your contractor may also have to gather permits before the job can be completed. If permits are necessary, budget for an additional $100 to $200 added onto the total cost of the project. The actual cost of permits will depend on your local jurisdictions building permit prices.
Why Royal Corinthian Replacement Columns
Our columns are second to none. We offer commodity paint-grade options as well as high-end pre-finished options. We guarantee the lowest prices through our distributors, the fastest lead-times, and unrivaled quality. We are the only manufacturer that customizes affordably. We have installed our products so we have a deep understanding of the nuances associated with replacement porch columns. Please call us at 888-Column-1 or fill out our contact form if you need to contact a distributor or salesperson.
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Secure The New Column
Glue the column to the porch using wood glue . Once the glue has become tacky, attach the column flanges with Philips head screws. Do the same for the roof.
Once the flanges are in place, add the casing trim and secure it with finishing nails. The nail holes may be filled in with putty or wood glue and then painted over while painting the new column to match the porch.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the authors knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
How To Replace Rotted Porch Columns
Every porch column replacement project is different. We have been manufacturing and installing columns for over 24 years so send us pictures of what you have or describe it to us via email, our contact form, or over the phone and we will help you figure out the best way to replace your columns or parts of them. Generally speaking, if you are replacing the entire column, it is important to put up temporary supports in case your columns are load-bearing or structural.
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Attaching The Porch Columns
Before putting up the columns, Deb used a Kreg tool to drill holes for when she attached them, but you dont have to do that. Using a 4 level, and making sure they were level both ways, we attached each column with two screws on each side at the top and bottom. So each post is attached with 8 screws at the top and 8 at the bottom. We used outdoor wood screws at the top and concrete screws at the bottom since we were attaching these wood posts to concrete.
Switching out these columns were seriously so freaking simple, and it made such a huge difference. We need to fill in the screw holes with stainable putty and stain them all yet. We want wood beams as our porch columns on our new house so this will be the test if I love them after a period of time. Plus, it goes along with my woods and whites theme that I love, and they can always be painted.
Stay tuned for the rest of the front porch makeover. Im so excited to share it with you!
What do you think? Im LOVING the new look!
Measure The Height Of The Old Columns
This is key, measure at each end of the porch, and somewhere close to the middle. Hopefully all of the columns are the same size, if theyre each off by a little, ensure that this was not done on purpose. Sometimes columns differ by a few inches to account for sloping of the porch or the overhang. As long as everything is level at the end you should be good to go. At this point youll cut the first 4X4 to the height measured.
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Ornamental Porch Column Styles
New columns will not only add security to your porch, they can also enhance your homes curb appeal while adding beauty to your porch space. These posts and columns come in a range of styles from basic to contemporary to ornate. The following are some of the most popular options when it comes to ornamental porch columns:
Cut The New Porch Column To Length
Cut the new column with a circular saw and speed square.
In this project I was installing a wood colonial style post. These posts have square walls at the top and bottom. There is a turned section in the middle.
A circular saw or miter saw will work to cut wood porch columns. Metal or fiberglass columns may require other cutting techniques.
Before you cut the column to your measured length, stop! You need to consider other factors that may affect the total height.
For one, nearly all wooden porch columns should be installed on a post base. This is a metal or plastic foot that keeps the column off of the porch surface. That way, the wood column never comes in contact with standing water.
New 5 wood porch column with plastic base.
Subtract the height of the base from your total height measurement.
Also, are going to attach railings that are the standard 36-42 inches tall? If so, make sure that youre leaving enough square section on the lower end of the post. Thats where the railings will attach to the column. You may have to take some material off the top of the post, and the bottom of the post to account for this. I did in this project.
What are you making your cuts with?
When youve made these considerations, measure and mark for your cut. If youre using a miter saw to cut the column, just cut the column precisely at this mark.
Set the circular saw blade depth to cut through the wall of the new column.
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Porch Column Base Replacement
More often than not, the base of a wood column is the first to go. The most popular product to use for base replacement is our poly/marble composite bases, which is essentially the same material as our cast fiberglass. The bases come with a lifetime warranty just like the rest of our products. We offer Tuscan, Doric, Attic, Box, Ogee, Craftsman, and will never shy away from historic replication or custom base styles. Read more about replacing rotted column bases .
What You’ll Need To Replace Posts & Columns:
- Reciprocating Saw : If you have a balustrade attached to your columns, you may need to cut through screws.
- 4X4 Post: This will temporarily hold the unsupported roof while you’re prepping the new column. Be sure to get one as tall as the removed column or pillar.
- Sufficiently-Rated Jack: You will need this to raise the 4X4 into place, and your jack will need to be rated high enough to support the weight.
- New Column: Choose the right one for your home. The correct material is essential. Your choices include wood, fiberglass and aluminum.
- Wood Blocks: You may need to place them under balustrades for support.
- Pencil, Tape Measure, Level and Square: You want to get it right the first time, and these are critical.
- Ladder: Be sure to follow the safety guidelines on the ladder.
- Fasteners: Screws, nails, etc.
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Choosing Replacement Porch Column Shapes & Profiles: Entasis Is Important
Because most round wood columns and certainly all of the larger sized columns were used on such homes are hollow they were built using techniques similar to barrel-making and in fact I call them hollow stave columns. Strips of wood with modest tongue and groove sides are glued together to form the column.
Then the column is given entasis – illustrated by my sketch below. Entasis is a colulmn shape or profile formed by a convex curve designed to provide a pleasing form that was originally figured out by the Greeks and shown on classical columns. You’ll see that entasis is tricky: it’s not a symmetric curve.
Yet when viewed from a distance the columns look straight.
Entasis was used in the Egyptian pyramids but is most associated with the columns found in the Classical Period in Greece. In China entasis was discussed later, in 1103 by Yingzao Fashi.
If you actually build a column without entasis, as were the ugly aluminum columns we considered as replacements, the column looks weird when in place – excessively tapered from bottom to top. Kudos to Greece.
Of three most column top or capital designs, Corinthian, Doric, or Ionic, the simplest and smoothest is the Doric column design, shown here. Smooth-surfaced Doric columns are the design most commonly found on wood porch columns.
How To Update Front Porch Columns
Fixing up or replacing old, outdated porch columns is a serious project but its 100% worth the time investment. Updating front porch posts can have an enormous effect on the style and curb appeal of your home. In this blog, were breaking down how to update front porch columns.
At Turntech, were a custom woodturning company that specializes in wooden porch posts. When it comes time to update your front porch pillars, you can make small updates that change the look of the post or fully replace them for an even bigger impact. While Turntech shines with porch post replacement, were giving the information about both options!
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Removing The Old Porch Column
If your column is attached to a railing system, you will need to detach the rail from the column to proceed. If the rail looks like it will break due to the amount of play necessary to move it then place a brick underneath it for support until it can be reattached to the new column.
Removing the old column can be done in several ways. The easiest is to first remove any casing or trim at the base and top of the column. These pieces may have been secured with wood glue, or nails, or both. A crowbar works quite well to dislodge these pieces. Removing these casing pieces should expose a flange that connects the column to the roof and porch. Most flanges are held in place by Philips head screws. Once these are removed the column should move easily. If it doesnt then there may be wood glue between the top of the column and the roof. This can be taken care of by cutting the column away from the roof with a reciprocating saw. There may be a similar problem at the base that can be handled in the same way.
Install The New Porch Column
Position the new porch column below the beam.
Stand the new porch column in place and make sure that it fits the opening the way you expected. Try to get it as near plumb as possible with a level.
This can be tricky. Framers try to line up roof beams directly above the perimeter of a masonry porch like this. However, that can be very hard to do so perfectly. The corner of the porch will often be slightly out of plumb with the beam above it.
When inconsistencies like this occur, I try to find a balance among all of the factors. But I focus on structural value.
I want my column to sit squarely in the corner of the porch, but not overhang the edge of the porch. That would be dangerous. And I always want it to be centered under the beam above for full support. I also want it it be as square as possible to the porch corner, the beam corner, and the house
It takes a lot of tweaking to get these factors right. I often walk around and look at the porch column from multiple angles to be sure it looks right. But most importantly, I make sure it is centered directly beneath the beam and sitting fully on the porch.
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Repair Or Replacement Procedures For Rotted Split Or Damaged Porch Columns
Anyhow, a hollow stave column, when exposed to uneven loads by the weight of the roof pressing down on a column that rests on a rotting or improperly shaped plinth block wants to split. So column repairs will include both gluing back the split column staves and cutting/replacing rotted sections.
For a wood column that is smashed beyond repair, don’t despair.
The split shown in the hollow wood column at above right can be repaired but I do not recommend just injecting epoxy into the open joints: you’re making the column diameter ever wider and asking for more damage in the future.
A proper repair involves removing the column, opening the joints a bit further and blowing them clean and dry. Then glue is inserted and strap clamps are used to re-clamp the column to its original dimensions.
At above left you can see that damage to porch columns and often the porch floor usually begins at the porch roof or soffit and box beam that bears on the column tops. Leaky porch roof built-in gutters send water into the box beam and porch soffit where it rots those components as well as leaking into the columns below.See EAVES TROUGH, INTEGRAL GUTTERS for details of how this porch and its eaves trough gutters were repaired.
Benefits Of Pvc Column Wraps
Installing PVC column wraps is an excellent choice for your front porch makeover. Some of the benefits of opting for PVC column wraps for your porch posts include:
- Durability unlike wood and other delicate materials like fiberglass, PVC is durable enough to withstand cracks, weather conditions, and insects.
- Low-maintenance PVC porch columns will require minimal maintenance, simply cleaning and painting should they be yellowed by the sun.
- Versatility you can paint PVC porch posts in any color to match your homes exterior, and they are available in many different styles with different accents to suit your homes aesthetic.
- Low cost compared to stone and wooden porch columns, PVC column wraps are relatively low cost.
- Elemental effects if you prefer the look of wooden porch posts, you can opt for elemental-style PVC columns which emulate the look of wood.
- Easy installation you can install PVC columns on your own with ease.
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Cut Your Furring Blocks To Size
Since we are wrapping the 4×4, chances are you want your columns to be larger than if we were to just wrap them directly around the 4×4. Here is where some planning needs to take place. Itll be best if you draw this out yourself to ensure you are getting the measurements that you want.
As shown I cut these spacers so that I could wrap the 4X4s in the PVC boards to the dimensions that I wanted. For this, youll need to figure out how wide you want your posts, realize that youll have 4 boards wrapping each post, two of each are the same length, and will be installed across from each other. Cut the spacers so that the dimensions you are looking to achieve will seamlessly fit around the board. The blocks can be affixed to the 4×4 with siding nails.
Jacking Up The Existing Roof
Before replacing a porch column with a new one, you first have to remove the old one. Because the column is likely supporting a heavy roof structure, temporary support will need to be used. How you raise a porch to replace the column is a matter of choice. I believe a roof jack is the best choice for this job, although some people choose to use 2x4s. 2x4s would need to be cut to size and then hammered into place. A roof jack, besides being more sturdy, doesnt need to be hammered into place and therefore wont cause any extra damage to the underside of the roof.
Some porch columns are not weight-bearing and are more for show than for actual support. The only columns that are sure to be load-bearing are those at the corners. However, because there is no way to tell if the column is load-bearing or not, it is best to err on the safe side and brace any column with a temporary support structure before attempting to remove it.
When jacking up the roof jack, place a small plank of wood between the top of the jack and the roof to give more surface area for the jack to distribute the weight. If there is a weak spot in the roof it is less likely to fall if the weight is dispersed over a larger area. After the temporary roof support is in place, use the chalk to mark the footing of the column, as well as where it attaches to the roof. These will be reference points for the installation of the new column.
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